Smith accepts CRCCP board position from MD Gov. Hogan

Nicole Smith, BCC’s Executive Director of MD and DC Programs, is now serving a four-year term on the Board for the Certification of Residential Child Care Program Professionals, or CRCCP. Appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Smith was confirmed in February at the Maryland State House by the Executive Nominations Committee.

“Having one of our executives appointed by Governor Hogan to serve is an honor,” BCC President and CEO, Laurie Anne Spagnola, said. “It speaks to Nicole’s dedication and excellent credentials, as well as the reputation of the Board of Child Care as a residential provider.”

The CRCCP Board formed in response to a change in state law that occurred in October of 2015. All childcare professionals are now required to attain a state certification as care providers.

The problem? There was not a licensing body to oversee the professional standards and expectations.

The Board has a mix of private practitioners and representatives from other state agencies, such as the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).

“I’m a direct care practitioner at heart and I believe we need to professionalize the tough work we do day in and day out,” Smith says. “The care for our kids is too important not to be regulated and this allows us to train and educate those who are advocating for and working with our most vulnerable populations.”

Per the new law, BCC staff who had attained enough years of experience could apply for grandfather status for the Residential Child and Youth Care Professional certification.
Instead, BCC elected to set the bar higher.

BCC required its 63 residential childcare staff and supervisors who qualified with grandfather status to complete the coursework anyway. All staff who did not qualify for grandfather status completed the coursework and sat for the state licensing test. BCC’s first time pass rate, well north of 90 percent, compared favorably against the 30 percent pass rate statewide.

“I hope BCC and the protocol we set for the newly-implemented law becomes the standard for other organizations to consider,” said Monte Ephraim, Director of Professional Development and Training. “I am so proud of the trainers we have and of our staff for meeting the challenge and passing their exams at such a high rate. Ultimately, however, it’s all about serving the youth at BCC, and I’m really proud of the best practice standard we are setting here.”

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Child Bus Tour stops at BCC’s Martinsburg campus


BCC’s Martinsburg residential campus hosted a Child Watch tour April 20 as part of a larger, collaborative effort to heighten community awareness of the plight of abused and neglected children.

“Because April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, we try to give adults an exclusive look at what a child sees while they go through the system,” said tour organizer Kristen Gingery, project assistant at the Family Resource Network. “This tour has been building for over 10 years and we were thrilled to have the Board of Child Care as a participant.”

The eight-destination bus tour included a stop at a hospital, where abuse or neglect is usually spotted or confirmed by a medical team. From there the group visited locations such as the Department of Health and Human Services in Martinsburg, a children’s shelter, a Safe Haven shelter, the Berkeley County Judicial Center and then as their last stop: the Board of Child Care.

Jackie Columbia, BCC’s director of operations in West Virginia, hosted the 21 participants for a campus tour and short talk about BCC’s residential programing.
“This type of experience is so important as we can show community members what we do, and who we’re advocating for,” Columbia said. “Seeing our actual facility and understanding what treatment looks like helps drive home our mission and the importance of BCC’s role within the community.”

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UMC lantern vigil enlightens Baltimore campus

Lanterns like these will blessed and shipped to Africa following UMC’s general conference in Portland May 12.

Started in 1970, Earth Day has become a worldwide effort to give voice to emerging environmental issues.

Nationally, the Earth Day movement hopes to plant 7.8 billion trees and divest from fossil fuels and making large, urban cities more renewable.

At the Board of Child Care, program participants spent some time discussing the link between spirituality and social consciousness, and how that relates to events like Earth Day.United Methodist Church’s Baltimore-Washington Conference participated in, which ties in with the church’s.

Program participants in Baltimore and Martinsburg will construct and decorate lanterns lit by small LED lights. Each lantern will have a short message or prayer written on them.

The BCC Earth Day program ties into a larger effort being taken by the United Methodist Church nationwide. The UMC’s general conference – scheduled for May 12 in Oregon – includes a climate vigil. Lanterns made at BCC will be blessed alongside thousands of other lanterns made across the United States, and ultimately distributed overseas to those in need of light in their homes.

The lanterns – which will include a prayer card – are earmarked for communities in Africa, where in-home lighting is scarce and a lantern with even a small LED light can make a potentially huge impact.

“This is an important project because it teaches our kids about spirituality and social issues, and how both can be intertwined on a daily basis,” Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson said. “We can use events like this to make a difference in communities locally as well as abroad.”

For more information on how your church can participate, visit the news blog of the United Methodist Church’s Pacific Northwest region here.

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Tree of Life leaves lasting legacy

Tree Of Life
Volunteer Auxiliary Tree of Life

When a family member or loved one passes, planting a tree in the deceased’s memory is an oft-mentioned option.

The Board of Child Care’s Volunteer Auxiliary has taken this a step further, with a “Tree of Life” in the Baltimore Campus Chapel. Maintained and funded by BCC’s Volunteer Auxiliary, the tree offers a family or a congregation an opportunity to change a young person’s life and remember a loved one at the same time.

Family and friends of Mrs. Margaret F. Lewis have done just that. Having served many years as the key person for McKendree-Simms-Brookland UMC in the Washington Region, Lewis was recently remembered with an engraved leaf.

Lewis, 83, passed June 4, 2014. She was born and raised in Chapel Hill, NC and enjoyed a successful 33-year career working for the federal government. She was known especially for her loving spirit that drew children close to her and her belief in promoting BCC’s mission in helping children.

For more information visit the Tree of Life page or learn more about the Volunteer Auxiliary.

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